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The AI curriculum

As humans, we are often intrigued by how complex our daily activities are. How does it work actually to perceive, to act, to decide, and to remember? On the one hand, if we understand how our own intelligence works, we can use this knowledge to make computers smarter. On the other hand, by making computers behave more like humans, we may be able to learn about how our own cognitive system actually works.

The AI master programme at Nijmegen has a distinctly cognitive focus where computational modeling is the central methodology used to:

  • understand naturally intelligent systems,
  • build artificially intelligent systems, and
  • improve the interactions between natural and artificial systems.

Depending on the area of study these models can range from behavioural models of millions of individuals interacting on the web, through functional models of human or robot decision making, to models of individual or networks of artificial neurons.

This cognitive focus leads to a highly interdisciplinary programme where students gain skills and knowledge from a number of different areas such as: Mathematics and Computer Science to develop computational models, Psychology and Neuroscience to understand natural systems, and a core foundation of AI techniques to implement and evaluate these models in artificially intelligent systems.

Structure of the programme
The programme consists of three specialisations (web, robot, and computation) focusing on different areas of natural and artificial intelligence and a set of foundational courses covering basic techniques to all specialisations.  Within their different areas of interest, all specialisations consist of three main topics; studying natural systems, developing artificial systems and computational models and implementing systems based on these models.
The general structure for all specialisations is:

Year 1

Foundation Compulsory:   12 EC
Specialisation Compulsory:  18 EC
Specialisation Choice:   18 EC
Restricted Choice:  6 EC
Free Choice   6 EC
Total   60 EC

Year 2

Foundation Compulsory: 3EC
Restricted Choice:  3 EC
Free Choice:   6 EC
Internship and Research Project or Extended Research Project:  48 EC
Total   60 EC

Foundation compulsory courses
The foundation provides the general knowledge and key skills required by all specialisations.  The foundation includes compulsory general courses which provide an overview of the current state of AI research and it's potential implications on society, and courses to develop basic academic skills such as writing and developing a research plan. Reasoning about the AI approach to understand human cognition is an inspiring way to pose and re-think philosophical questions, and students are trained in this to be able to develop a broad intellectual viewpoint.

Specialisation compulsory/choice courses
Each specialisation consists of a set of 3 compulsory courses which form the 'core' of that specialisation. In addition a further 3 "specialisation-choice" courses can be chosen from a specialisation specific list to deepen your knowledge within the specialisation in your preferred direction.

Restricted choice courses
The restricted choice courses can be used to further deepen your knowledge by taking additional specialisation choice courses.  Alternatively, you can broaden your knowledge by taking courses either from another specialisation or more general AI relevant courses from other departments.

Free choice courses
Finally, you have 12ec of free choice courses that can be used to take any (AI relevant) course from the Radboud University (www.studiegids.science.ru.nl/2015/specialsearch), another university or abroad.

Internship & (extended) research project
The internship (18EC) and Research Project (30EC) or Extended Research Project (48EC) are the culmination of your personal AI Master's programme. As this is where you put to practice what you have learned, the subject of the internship and thesis will generally be in line with the direction you have chosen so far. To get an impression of possible topics, browse through some of the Master theses our students have completed (click here).

AI: an international master's programme
Due to its academic excellence and international approach, the Artificial Intelligence Master's programme is one of the 25 Master's programmes that were selected by the Radboud University Nijmegen as an International Master's programme. This means that:

  • All education is conducted in English;
  • A significant number of international students and staff gives students the experience of working in an internationally oriented environment;
  • The AI master's degree is accredited by the Accredication Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO) so students are assured the degree is internationally recognised;
  • International students are guaranteed a fast and easy application procedure as described in the Radboud University Nijmegen international students Code of Conduct.

As an International Master's programme, the Artificial Intelligence Master's programme prepares its students for strategic positions in research, business and the public sector and is especially suited for ambitious students from around the world.